Group Earns Accolades!

July 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK — Bell-Jeff’s Landini leads list of locals for all-league accolades. The Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball team was able to be successful this past season because of some new blood. Read more

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Duo Gets All-CIF Honor!

July 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK — The baseball coaches at Burbank and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs would probably not want to ponder what their seasons would have been like without their star players.
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Former Hoops Star Returns As Athletic Director!

July 3, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

BELLARMINNE-JEFFERSON HIGH — Her exploits on the hardwood at Bellarmine-Jefferson High, in college and in professional basketball are well known at the school.
A former standout All-CIF Southern Section girls’ basketball and volleyball player for the Guards,  Jaclyn Johnson has kept tabs on her alma mater and stayed close to individuals who helped shape her as a person.

Although 13 years removed from Bell-Jeff, Johnson enjoyed something of a homecoming this week. Taking over for Bryan Camacho, Johnson has been named the school’s new athletic director.

“Bell-Jeff is where it all started for me,” said Johnson, who graduated in 1997. “I just want to do all I can to give back to the athletes who are at the school, and who will be coming in next year. It’s really nice to be back.”

Johnson steps into a position held by Camacho, who also served as the school’s boys’ and girls’ basketball coach. He stepped down less than three weeks ago to take an assistant coaching job with the Cal State Northridge women’s team.

Since Camacho’s departure, Bell-Jeff and its principal, Sister Cheryl Milner, have wasted little time starting to fill the Guards’ open positions.

“We are very happy to have Jaclyn with us at Bell-Jeff,” Milner said. “Jaclyn is just one year removed from playing basketball all over the world. She is quite a basketball player. We know she will be a great addition at Bell-Jeff.”

This is the first administrative job for Johnson. However, with a background in athletics and good organizational skills, she believes she will be able to do a fine job at Bell-Jeff.

“It was an opportunity that I jumped at,” she said. “I like challenges, and challenges drive me. I plan to be there for the students at the school, like the ones who were there for me when I went here.

“I know it’s going to be a lot of work. Coach [Jim] Couch has been kind enough to give me some wisdom and just some guidance, and hopefully I’ll be able to do a good job.”

Couch was Johnson’s coach at Bell-Jeff. He was also served as the school’s track and field and cross-country coach, as well as athletic director.

As a senior at Bell-Jeff, Johnson helped the Guards girls’ basketball team win the 1997 CIF Southern Section Division IV championship — on her last-second buzzer-beater. She was also the division’s player of the year.

The title was the first championship won by the school in any sport.

Along with earning All-CIF Southern Section honors in basketball, she was also an All-CIF choice in girls’ volleyball.

After Bell-Jeff, she went on to the University of Kansas, where she became one of the most successful women’s players in school history.

In her senior season, she led the Jayhawks by averaging 16.1 points a game, to go along with 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals and almost a block a game. Johnson also scored in double-digits in 19 of 24 games and led Kansas in scoring 17 times.

In her four-year collegiate career, the 6-foot-1 Johnson finished fifth on the Jayhawks’ career rebounding list with 846 and 11th on the all-time scoring list with 1,378 points. She was also fifth in career free-throws made (382), fifth in free-throws attempted (555) and fifth career games played (123).

In 2001, she was selected in the WNBA Draft in the third round — 42nd pick overall — by the Orlando Miracle.

She also played professionally over seas for a number of teams, the last in Israel. (see related article)

Johnson takes over athletic-director duties at a school that had its share of sports success during the 2009-10 season. The girls’ basketball, softball and girls’ volleyball teams won league championships. In addition, the volleyball squad advanced to a CIF championship game and the basketball team went as far as the semifinals.

Milner said with the athletic-director position filled, the school could name new boys’ and girls’ basketball coaches as soon as next week.

Related story (Girls’ Basketball has a new coach!)

Jeff Tully

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And The Winners Are!

July 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK – Summer is almost here, and most local high school athletes are finally getting some time to relax after an eventful 2090-10 school year.

The year saw its share of remarkable achievements; successful teams and outstanding individuals who helped make the campaign memorable.

But along with the successes were disappointing moments and unique happenings that deserve recognition.

As is the yearly tradition, these deserving athletes, coaches and events from the four high schools — Burbank, Burroughs, Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs — should be given special treatment.

So here is this year’s list of Tully Trophy winners. To be a recipient, an individual, team or school has to exhibit meritorious or worthy accomplishment. Either that, or they have to have done something stupid or strange.

So without further ado, here are the lucky winners:

• The Never-say-die trophy goes to venerable Memorial Field. Just like a creature in a horror movie that just never seems be killed off, the stadium lives on after construction on a new facility was postponed until the winter. Will the 2009 football season be the last for the worn-down relic? Stay tuned.

• The Breaker-of-the-drought trophy goes to Burbank High junior Adam Colman. As a quarterback, he helped lead the Bulldogs football team to a share of their first league title in 37 years. As a member of the boys’ basketball team, he assisted Burbank in getting to the CIF Southern Section Division IIVV semifinals for the first time in 43 years.

• The Freshman-impact trophy goes to Providence first-year athlete Marylin Petrov. Running the girls’ 100-meter hurdles, she was the first Pioneers track and field athlete in years to advance to the CIF Southern Section finals.

The American-Idol trophy is given to Bellarmine-Jefferson girls’ basketball player Jasmine Smith. Along with being an All-CIF and an All-Area standout for the Guards, Smith has also has signing talent, as she often belts out an excellent rendition of the “National Anthem” at Bell-Jeff home games.

• The Upset-of-the-year trophy is award to the Burroughs boys’ volleyball team. The Indians defeated perineal-league-champion Claremont — which was ranked No. 5 in Division II — at home, 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 25-1. The win helped Burroughs earn a share of the Pacific League championship.

The Surprise-surprise trophy goes to the Bell-Jeff girls’ volleyball team. It wasn’t surprising that the Guards won their fourth straight Santa Cruz League championship. However, it was a surprise when Bell-Jeff advanced to its first CIF Southern Section title match. Unfortunately, the Guards fell in the Division IVA final to Upland Christian Academy, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.

• The Gutsy-call trophy is awarded to Burbank football Coach Hector Valencia. In a Pacific League game against Muir, Valencia called for a two-point conversion attempt in overtime. The play worked, as Burbank scored to win the contest, 29-28.

• The Do-a-little-dance trophy goes to Burbank softball player Kassy Uchida, who does a little bunny hop dance every time she steps into the batter’s box.

• The What-in-the-world-is-that trophy is awarded to the new Burroughs mascot. At football games, the school trotted out a person in a character costume, complete with a big black hat and suit and white hair and beard. It is suppose to be John Burroughs, the naturalist and essayist. However, the mascot looks more like Rip Van Winkle.

• The Versatility trophy goes to Burbank runner Greg Dotson. An accomplished distance athlete, he placed second in state in the 800 meters. But the senior proved he has some speed as well, winning the 200 in a league meet against Burroughs.

• The Thanks-for-the-advice trophy goes to Burroughs track and cross-country Coach John Peebles, who often suggests what would make for a good Tully Talk column.

All this year’s recipients can now come up and accept their awards, and please, make your speeches brief.

Jeff Tully

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